I had been watching for this. I’ve been noticing Solus for a while, and have previously reviewed earlier version. But the future of Solus was in question. Some time last year Ikey Doherty, the founder of Solus, walked away. I’m inclined to say that he abandoned the project. But others in the team picked it up, and managed to get some help from Doherty to set the project on a new footing. If you do a web search for “Ikey Doherty” you will find some of the history of this. But details of that history are beyond the scope of this blog.
So now that Solus 4.0 is out, it looks as if the team has been successful in reestablishing the project. And, naturally, I decided to give it a test run.
To download, I went to the “Download” page (linked from the announcement). There, I used the torrent downloader to retrieve the Budgie Desktop version.
I have not been doing monthly Tumbleweed installs for a while. But this month I have done several, for various reasons. I will report on the most interesting install. Well, at least, the install that is most interesting to me. I hope my readers find in interesting.
This was an install to an external hard drive. It is a 250G Seagate hard drive, purchased back when that was a large size for external drives. I originally used that drive for backups, but I am no longer using it for that purpose.
My aim was to have an external drive that I could use for maintenance tasks on other computers. So I wanted it to be bootable on a computer with legacy BIOS booting. But I also want it to be bootable on an EFI box. And, given my recent experiments with 32-bit EFI, I figured that I should also make it bootable on 32-bit EFI.
I’ve been testing Leap 15.0 for some time. I have not always posted about that. As long as it is working, a post would not be very interesting. However, it is time to sum up the current status.
We now have a release date for the finalized Leap 15.0. The plan is to release on May 25, at 12:00 UTC. See the announcement for more details:
I’m expecting further test releases before that date. They will mostly be release candidates. My own plans are to update my current installs for each release candidate. I probably won’t do another full install on a real machine, but I will install some of the release candidates on a KVM virtual machine.
My current usage
At present I am still using Leap 42.3 on my main desktop. Sometime within the next week or so, I plan to switch to full time use of Leap 15.0, and mostly retire 42.3.
Yesterday, I reported on GeckoLinux. And I found a few problems. I’m happy to say that the maintainer noticed my report, and has provided an updated release 423.180107 to correct those problems.
This time, just to be different, I tried the Plasma version instead of the XFCE version. I downloaded the iso, following the links at the GeckoLinux site. I then verified the download using the provided sha1 checksum.
To test, I planned only to use the downloaded iso as a virtual CDROM with a KVM virtual machine install.
I was already running “virt-manager”, so I used the menu option to define a new virtual machine. I set it to use 10G of virtual disk space, which should be sufficient for my testing. And I set it to use 2G of memory and to use 2 processors (from the 4-core processor in my main desktop system).
There are times when you want to have several versions of openSUSE on the same computer. For example, on one of my computers I have:
- openSUSE Leap 42.3 (this is what I mainly use);
- openSUSE Tumbleweed (for a look at the bleeding edge);
- openSUSE Leap 15.0 (alpha release of the next Leap version).
So how do I manage those, so that I can boot whichever I want?
I’ll note that, in part, this is an update of an earlier post. I’ll describe how I am handling this situation.
I’ll start with what will happen if you just install these versions willy-nilly, and go with the installation defaults.
In a UEFI box, the installer creates a directory “/boot/efi/EFI/opensuse”. That’s really directory “\EFI\opensuse” in the EFI partition (which uses the FAT file system). EFI boot files are installed in that directory, and NVRAM entries for “opensuse” and “opensuse-secureboot” are created. The “opensuse” boot entry uses “grubx64.efi” to boot the system. The “opensuse-secureboot” entry uses “shim.efi”. If secure-boot is disabled in your firmware, either of those should work. If secure-boot is enabled, then only the “opensuse-secureboot” entry will work.
Solus is a nicely themed linux distro. I particularly liked the Budgie desktop, which comes from the Solus team. Solus would not be my personal choice, because I’m a command line type of person and Solus seems more oriented to people used to Windows.
While it would not be my preferred distro, it is still disappointing that Solus does not seem to handle booting well. I’ve had Solus installed in an extra partition for some time now, and how it handles booting is an issue. Perhaps I’ll report on the problems that I have seen in another post. But, for now, I will just be describing my tests.
I don’t often post about Windows, because I mainly use linux. But this is a Windows post. I should mention that the computer involved is a UEFI box, since that might be relevant.
My main desktop has both Windows 8.1 and openSUSE 42.2. On Friday, I attempted to install the May updates for Windows. The updates are the two listed in the subject line above.
The updates failed.
They seemed succeed. I got the message to restart windows to complete the update. So I rebooted. Then I saw the messages about “working with updates”. At around the 30% mark, it rebooted. Then, on reboot, it continued until the 100% mark. That looked good.
But then a message:
We couldn’t complete the updates
Don’t turn off your computer
I have previously reported on KaOS, in 2015. I have actually kept it installed since August 2015. When I saw the announcement for 2017.01, I decided that it was time for a re-install. I’ll note that I could have just updated the already installed version, but it seemed like time for a fresh start.
What is KaOS?
KaOS is a rolling distribution, based on KDE.
I am a KDE user, with openSUSE Leap (currently at 42.2). But I also keep openSUSE Tumbleweed installed for looking at what will be coming up. And I’m using KaOS as an alternative view of what is going to be showing up in the future.
I have not used KaOS extensively, except for occasion testing and occasional updating. I’m expecting to continue that practice with the new install.
I downloaded from the download site listed on the announcement. I then checked the md5sum for the download. There did not appear to be a gpg signature that I could check.
As mentioned in my previous post, here is my separate post on booting Solus.
What’s wrong with the installation defaults for booting?
Probably nothing, at least for most users. But they do not suit my needs.
The main issue, for me, is that I have several linux systems installed. So I don’t want Solus to take control of the booting. I would prefer to have an entry added to my openSUSE boot menu.
Do I even need a bootloader?
You probably do. The grub configuration (as with “grub2-mkconfig” in openSUSE) can find other linux systems and add menu items for them. But that configuration process looks at the boot menus for the other linux systems, to decide how to boot them.
This month’s install was interesting.
My original plan was to install from the KDE live iso. So I downloaded “openSUSE-Tumbleweed-KDE-Live-x86_64-Snapshot20160307-Media.iso” and wrote that to a USB. It booted up nicely, and ran well. Among other things, that suggests that the problems with persistent storage on the usb device have been fixed. It created a hybrid partition that was mounted as “ext4” instead of the “btrfs” that had been giving problems with the persistent hybrid partition.